Practising good sleep hygiene (practising, practising, and more practising)

I’m not a fan of insomnia. In fact, if there was an Unlike (Dislike) button on Facebook, I would seriously dislike (unlike) any statuses relating to sleepless nights.

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep. It’s essential to restoring your mental well-being. And to keep from getting stabby.

Cats know good sleep hygiene. Take Jack. Around 11PM (his preferred bedtime) he begins his night-time routine by meandering to his dishes for a snack. A little dry food, a taste of wet food.

Not long thereafter, he trots downstairs for a look out his window (the only window in the back of the house) and/or a stop at his litter box.

When he comes back upstairs, he begins bathing. Afterwards, he paces to the bedrooms, hoping someone has miraculously appeared in their bed, covers drawn.

Jack wants bed and he wants it now.

If, around this same time, I start pulling down my bedsheets, setting my alarm, and brushing my teeth, Jack perks up. He knows this is my bedtime routine and it signals his chance to go to bedskies. (Apparently this is my charming pet-talk which I will have to restrain if I ever procreate so my children don’t go to school talking about bedskies and poo-poo.)

You have to create the right environment in your room in order to sleep well. That’s why I have a fan for white noise and a charming breeze that makes me feel as though I’m in a convertible cruising towards the destination of my dreams.

Cooling down your body is very important. Baths help; or at least a face wash. They warm your body, then encourage it to cool—as you cool, it signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.

I rarely sleep well on hot nights.

Blankets are key too. If you can afford high thread-count sheets, good for you. I aim for clean. Fresh air issuing from your sheets every time you shift or move is essential to a good night’s sleep—hence why I sleep like a log on fresh bed night, usually Sunday night, even though it’s the beginning of the work week.

My favourite blankets are home-made.

Comfortable clothes are essential. Baggy is best. If I’m not having a bath (a rare occurrence), I insist on fresh pyjamas; these help cool down the body. (Better if they’ve been on a clothesline in a breeze. There is no perfume like fresh air.)

I usually require a snack of some kind, but the choice of food is vital. Cheesy nachos, for example, are bad. They make your mouth taste funky all night, like you’ve licked the floor of the Grade 7 wing, no matter how much you brush your teeth. I prefer cereal. It starts my day; it can end my day.

Usually I watch the news before retiring. This is probably the worst possible aspect of my routine. Watching riots, deaths, and other violent things is probably not conducive to a good night’s sleep. However, it is often cathartic, and to my relief, CTV News ends with a feel-good story that helps dry any tears.

Finally, I need to read. My gosh. How can you go to bed without reading a book?

I no longer read in bed. I discovered this led to reading until 4 in the morning. This occasionally happens on the couch, but not as often. After all, beds are for sleeping and sex.

Reading until your eyes are lead-heavy is pure bliss. Sometimes I don’t make it that far: sometimes Jack gets between me and the book, demanding I go to bed. He’s sneaky—he knows when he sleeps on me, it makes me drift off. Darn it.

Jack practices good sleep hygiene as well as not-so-subtle techniques to get me to bed.

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